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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Mar 24, 2012 8:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Serious question for musically inclined sorts...DEAD/nonDEAD

Like you I am a musical illiterate . But from what I have gathered though the years, is this kind of criticism can come from the musically informed, or it can come from the " if you can't say it in 4 minuets..." crowd . In both cases they seen to not "get it ". Clapton was/is a great Blues player, not a jazz guy , so with the longer things with Cream, his limits as a musician are more apparent , to those whom worry about these things . I recall John McLaughlin not being that impressed with Hendrix ("He just a Blues player"), which again might be true , but sort of misses the point . The Dead at the time of Cream, were limited in their improvisational vocabulary, and none had the pure chop of Bruce, Baker, Clapton , but , as been mentioned a while ago , the Dead were more a group unit , that several soloists , and I have musician friends who can listen to the Dead, but con no longer enjoy Cream's longer songs . Barbarian that I am, I still LOVE this shit ! Give me that live NSU any day !
Hopefully, some of our more musically conversant folks will chime in .

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 24, 2012 5:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Serious question for musically inclined sorts...DEAD/nonDEAD

Garcia did not like John McLaughlin's playing. He also complained about early jazz-fusion groups like Weather Report being too technical & not doing enough true group improv.

There are definitely those who said that 'more complex is better,' especially in the '70s - the virtuoso thing was in (partly inaugurated by Cream), and prog groups like Yes were big, who never played one note when ten notes would do...
The Dead could sound like a bunch of piddlers if approached from that viewpoint. (I've seen reviews of the Mahavishnu Orchestra/Wales & Garcia shows in Jan 72 that talked about how great & accomplished McLaughlin's group was, and how amateurish & limited Garcia was in comparison.)

You mention the Dead being more limited in their improv vocabulary than Cream....but I'm not so sure.
The members of Cream had, individually, played their instruments with bands longer than anyone in the Dead had.
However, the Dead formed about a year earlier than Cream did, and not only were much more united as a group, they really worked as a unit in their jams, blending their styles & playing together.
I'm not sure the guys in Cream ever bothered to do that very much. In one sense, any comparison is a bit unfair though - Cream broke up only about a year after they started doing the really long jams, so we can only really compare them to Dead circa '67-68; when the Dead did have a more limited bag of tricks than they did later, but also approached their playing with more Cream-like aggressiveness.
Nonetheless, I think the Dead were already much more inventive & flowing in their jams than Cream were. Several people have made the point that the jam in one Cream song sounds much like the jam in another - the Dead not only had more variety (and none of the "solo spots" that filled out Cream shows), they were doing suites & medleys of tunes with different styles & moods.
Ironically, the guys in Cream probably would've heard the Dead as just being sloppy & unprofessional, as far as instrumental skill goes. The Cream lost interest & broke up so fast, they probably never considered changing their approach to improv - though they were getting sick of their own style, and have pretty much stayed away from it ever since.
I can't knock Cream too much though, since I still love their stuff.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Mar 25, 2012 8:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Serious question for musically inclined sorts...DEAD/nonDEAD

When I mentioned the Dead in the era of Cream, being limited in their "improvisational vocabulary" I was being unclear, That point was not really meant as a comparison. That observation would true of both bands . A good jazz player would, even if they enjoyed the music , might note the limits, of the the nuts and bolts level, of these improves . But your comparisons of the two bands improve styes says it much clearer than anything I might have to have said . The Dead were just a more interesting, even within said limits , and I have clocked in a few million hours listening to this stuff and loving it . But the punch and power, of the Cream, and the pure badassery of Clapton's playing with them, is something I enjoy too .

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 24, 2012 8:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Serious question for musically inclined sorts...DEAD/nonDEAD

RE: musically informed; the above review was from a RolStone writer, and BAND member...acclaimed sort that certainly knows of what he speaks, it seems to me. Of course, might also be a bit of "sour grapes" syndrome.

Thx, DD.